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Why Did NYU Langone's Emergency Generators Fail?

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, November 1, 2012

'A dangerous situation'
Speaking to Rubin, Morgan conveyed more outrage with his signature dramatic flair. He characterized the NYU Langone evacuation as "a dangerous situation," with transport of hundreds of vulnerable patients amid strong winds and rain.

They were "being evacuated in the middle of the night...four newborns on respirators carried down nine flights of stairs as nurses manually squeezed the bags to get air to those babies...This is a very dangerous situation. My wife gave birth last year, and I can't imagine anything worse than in the middle of the night, your baby being rushed on a respirator..." Morgan said to Rubin.

In response, Rubin insisted that Langone has many generators and tests them "all the time." But, he said, "this was an unbelievable, powerful storm.  Many, many things happened that were really beyond anyone's control...an unfortunate set of circumstances...we had 10 feet of water, 12 feet of water in our basement..."

But Morgan continued to push. "It does seem baffling, as I say, that a New York busy hospital like this could end up having to ferry newborn babies in the middle of a hurricane up and down Manhattan, simply because a hospital like yours, with all its facilities and resources, couldn't get a generator to work."

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3 comments on "Why Did NYU Langone's Emergency Generators Fail?"


Tom Lawrence (11/5/2012 at 10:34 AM)
Emergency Power systems seem to nearly always be under-sized, because no one expects that they will really be needed or that the "Worst Case Scenarios" will ever happen...It doesn't cost that much more to do it right, and making the wrong choice will always get you on the evening news....

Alan Falk (11/5/2012 at 1:04 AM)
You won't publish this, but I'd like to comment anyway... The generators failed because it's freaking impossible to create a backup scenario that will protect against ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING that can happen!! Like Fukishima... the power plants should have been on higher ground and maybe should have been designed to withstand tsunamis five times bigger than the one that took them out. But someone, somewhere, had to make an economic choice of how much protection was statistically likely to be needed, as well as how much they could afford... Not to mention that location and sizing of the backup generators might have been better on TOP of the building, but might have been way to expensive for any organization to implement! Enough finger-pointing, blame-gaming and Monday-morning quarterbacking, already! Dumb article.... and too long, too.

Max Caufield (11/2/2012 at 2:57 PM)
Piers Morgan is a real hack but the generator/electronic controls in the basement begs the questions[INVALID]didn't anyone learn anything from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Who puts anything electronic in the basement when you are located right next to an ocean or a river? Aren't you just asking for trouble?